Tourism innovation and competitiveness

Antoni Parera Olm, José Francisco Valls Giménez

Producción científica: Contribución a una conferenciaContribución


Although Spain's tourism industry makes up 12% of the country's GDP (Exceltur, 2012), it invests relatively little in R&D and innovation compared with other sectors (INE, 2010; OECD, 2010). This investment has shrunk since the onset of the economic crisis in 2008. Spanish entrepreneurs in the tourism industry are aware of the need for innovation but they find it difficult to apply research policies to their companies and feel they receive little support from trade associations and public administration (Valls, Ferrer, Casola, Parera, 2011). Given the present crisis and aversion to innovation, this paper highlights the innovations being made by Spanish tourism firms against a dark backdrop of economic uncertainty and shrinking consumption. The analysis is conducted for each of the tourism sub-sectors: hotels; catering; intermediation; leisure and kindred fields-as well as by company size. The tourism industry is very complex and these data help in interpreting the interrelationships between these fields and company competitiveness. The study's contributions fall under two general heads: academic and practical. On the one hand, the empirical work on management in the various sub-sectors of tourism companies allows one to link innovation with competitiveness, in which the former is a necessary condition for the latter (Larios, 1998; Porter, 1990; Chesnais, 1986). On the other hand, the results also provide a balanced scorecard against which to tackle innovation policies in European tourism companies. This is extremely valuable, given the difficulties encountered by firms in articulating an innovation policy (a problem that afflicts companies in general and the tourism industry in particular). This paper identifies the ten most outstanding management innovations being applied by Spanish tourism companies during the present crisis. These innovations embrace all management fields: strategy in general; customers; staff; processes; costs; technologies; partners; suppliers. The innovations were selected through focus groups of experts and company managers, who considered an initial list of fifty corporate management items (Hamel, 2009; Drucker 2002; Pavón and Hidalgo, 1997). A sample of company managers was then drawn up covering each of the various sub-sectors in the Spanish tourism and leisure industry. These managers then gave weights for the relative importance of the aforementioned items in their respective firms. The sample covered 220 cases throughout Spain, in proportion to the relative importance of each sub-sector within the industry. The fieldwork employed the C.A.W.I. technique of a self-administered on-line computer questionnaire. The universe was decision-makers in tourism companies. The sampling error for the whole data set was /- 6.6% with a confidence level of 85.5% and p=q=0.5. The paper's main focus is innovation and competitiveness in the tourism industry and is linked to the following Conference-proposed items: Innovation Strategies and Organisational Innovation.
Idioma originalInglés
EstadoPublicada - 13 sept 2012
Publicado de forma externa
EventoEnlightening Tourism: 1st International Conference Napoli 2012 -
Duración: 13 sept 201214 sept 2012


ConferenciaEnlightening Tourism: 1st International Conference Napoli 2012


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